Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vacances Part 3a: Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel.
France's most visited monument and second most well-known (behind the Eiffel Tower) is Mont Saint Michel. This monastery/cathedral/community is built on an island mountain off the north coast of France. It's pretty cool in pictures, and much much more impressive in person. Hundreds of years old (the original buildings, not all of what we now know at MSM), this monastery was an early pilgrimage place for many Christian worshipers who came to visit. Some died in the journey, as the island could only be reached at low tides by walking across the wet sand, some of which is quicksand that would swallow up wayward steps. Others were taken by surprise when the tides swept in and erased the path that had been. Monks who plead their lives to prayer found a place of solitude atop the rock where they could forsake all natural desires to focus on God. There's much more history out there, check it out! How about some pictures! Check back tomorrow for a mostly truthful video tour of the abbey and monastery. :)

Stairs stairs stairs! When we reached the island and breached the walls, we first passed some hotels, shops, and restaurants, and then we came to the stairs to the top. JJ's smiling here because she's not yet touched a single stair. But reach the top we would!

.................At a

Each time we reached the summit of a particular set of stairs, we rounded the corner and discovered... another set of stairs!

Here S and I conquered one rather long set and turned to express our conquering manness.

After all those stairs, we found the elevator
that we must have passed by!

That high up, on a mountain surrounded by changing ocean tides and quicksand, and yet it's this impressive and beautiful inside.

Following is a set of models which showed the changes in Mont Saint Michel through the years. It's pretty cool to see how it started and came to be where it is today. Also neat how the continued building followed and used the natural shape of the mountain.

10th century:

11th and 12th centuries:

17th and 18th centuries:

20th century to today:

Truly an amazing place. We'll see you again soon, Mont Saint Michel!


Rachel said...

ohh I really want to go here!

Michael & Joe Joe said...

Your room is booked :)